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How to Back Up Your Sump Pump

Your sump pump works hard to keep your home dry — after all, it can be the last line of defense protecting everything in your basement from significant water damage. And because its job is so important, you should make sure you have a backup in case it fails. Protect your home from water damage by taking these simple steps to avoid sump pump overflow and sewer backup.

Why Do Sump Pumps Fail?

There’s no one main reason why your sump pump will eventually stop working. But whether permanent or temporary, your sump pump’s failure can cause major headaches in the form of a flooded basement, damaged items and expensive cleanup and replacement costs. Keep your eye on these common reasons for sump pump failure:

A power outage

Your sump pump is powered by electricity, so a power outage could spell trouble for your basement and the items you keep there.

A clogged discharge pipe

While a clogged discharge pipe might not actually stop your pump’s motor from running, it could fail to dispose of the water it collects. It could then burn out the motor, rendering your pump ineffective.

A poorly-installed sump pump

You might fancy yourself as pretty handy, but when it comes to this important of an appliance, it’s wise of you to trust a professional to install it. You can install it yourself, but know there are a number of installation flaws that could harm its functionality. Entrust someone with experience to get it working correctly.

Your discharge pipe is frozen

When springtime rolls around, cold temperatures, melting snow and rain can spell trouble for a sump pump. If it can’t expel the water in its basin, it could keep running until it burns out.

How to Back Up Your Sump Pump

There are lots of other ways your sump pump could meet its demise — and whether it loses power, its battery fails or the pump itself burns out, you can have a backup plan in place to keep your basement and everything in it dry. Follow these tips and you'll be more than ready to deal with unexpected sump pump failure:

Install a backup battery

If you have a battery-powered sump pump as your main system, you’ll already be immune from the power outage-induced failures that come with electric sump pumps, as long as you keep your battery charged. To be safe, look for a system that comes with a backup battery that can kick into gear when the first one fails. And even if your main system is electric, you can still install a backup battery to save you when the power does go out — just make sure you have at least two backup batteries on hand.

The best approach for installing a backup battery is when you install your main pump. If that’s not possible, get in touch with a professional plumber — your backup won’t do any good if it’s not installed properly.

Install a second sump pump

This is one you’ll definitely want to leave to the pros, as it’s a bit more complicated than just plugging it in. Not only will a second pump help if your first one burns out, but if installed correctly, it can provide relief during particular heavy rainstorms or snow melts, too.

Install a water-powered sump pump

Don’t want to worry about the electricity factor with your backup pump? If your main one fails and you’ve got a water-powered backup, you can count on it to use your home’s water source to create suction in your sump pump’s pit, pushing excess water outdoors.

Other Ways to Back Up Your Sump Pump from the Inside

Adding extra pumps and batteries are great ways to back up your primary system, but there are even more ways to add protection on top of that, too. Check out our tips for giving your pump some help during the rainy and melty seasons:

Have a backup generator for your home

Having a second power source to run your important appliances like your refrigerator and sump pump can save you tons of money when you consider the alternative — spoiled food and a flooded home.

Check and test your sump pump regularly

Making sure your main pump is working and maintaining it regularly is the easiest way to avoid water headaches.

Other Ways to Back Up Your Sump Pump from the Inside

Not all your flooding protection has to come from the inside. Checking on and adding to your home’s flood-prevention features can help, too. See how:

Install window well covers

Keep excess water from getting easy access to your window wells in your basement by putting in a window well cover. They can be found at hardware stores and are easy to install — just make sure you have the right size.

Have high quality gutters and downspouts

Keeping as much water away from your foundation as you can in the first place can do wonders for keeping your basement dry. Make sure they’re clear of leaves and other debris, too, so they can properly get rid of rain.

Consider removing trees near your foundation

Large trees with strong roots can actually crack your foundation and make your home more susceptible to flooding. Having these trees removed may help ensure your foundation remains intact for years to come.

Protect Your Home with Sump Pump Insurance Coverage

If the unexpected happens and your sump pump does fail, you’ll want to make sure you have the right protection in place as well. Sump pump coverage is an optional add-on that can help safeguard your investments from water damage caused by things like sump pump failure and overflow.

Connect with your American Family Insurance agent to learn more about this coverage or to make sure your homeowners policy is giving you all the protection and peace of mind you need.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

This article does not afford or guarantee coverage.

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Related Topics: Home DIY , Owning A Home